Prayers and vigil to remember victims of Keyham shooting

Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton, attending a candlelit vigil to the victims

Churches across Devon used Sunday services last weekend to remember the victims of the shooting that took place in Keyham, Plymouth on Thursday, 12th August.

At St Thomas’ Church in Keyham, prayers were said for the five local people who were killed, as well as for 22-year-old gunman Jake Davison. Father David Way said: “It’s a time of shock and sadness and horror. But it’s also a time of hope. We have to have faith and hope at this time.”

In the 12-minute attack on Thursday evening, Davison shot his 51-year-old mother Maxine Davison, also known as Maxine Chapman, before killing Sophie Martyn, aged three, and her father Lee Martyn, aged 43.

He then killed Stephen Washington, 59, in a nearby park before shooting 66-year-old Kate Shepherd, who died at Derriford Hospital. He also shot and wounded a 33-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman before turning the gun on himself.

A large crowd also gathered in Plymouth on the Friday after the attack for a vigil. People laid flowers and held candles in North Down Crescent Park in Keyham to remember those who were killed by the gunman. The incident was Britain’s worst mass shooting in more than a decade.

In a statement after the event, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Alison Hernandez, said: “My team and I were on the scene with our community engagement van the morning after the event. We took with us thousands of leaflets which had been printed specifically for Keyham residents by a local company that dropped everything to help. The leaflets gave details of how those traumatised and affected could get expert practical and emotional support, 24 hours a day. We were accompanied by Victim Support workers from the city who delivered them door to door in a community that was reeling from tragedy.

‘We spoke to people who saw the victims, saw their neighbours, take great risks to comfort and help the injured, knew and loved those who are tragically no longer with us.

‘Trauma like that can last a lifetime, I will always remember that day, in that shocked community, I cannot imagine how those who were in those streets just hours earlier must be feeling.”

The statement continued: “We know that while generally very safe, there is an increasing and worrying problem with violence in this country and Devon and Cornwall are not immune from this trend. That is why, with funding from households across the force area, the Chief Constable and I set up the Serious Violence Prevention Programme a year ago.

‘Society has to find a way of reaching particularly young people and diverting them away from violence, showing them that it is not the answer. We must find a way of tackling the influence of unwell people who mislead and encourage violence.

‘The police and partners have been seeking answers to some of these extraordinarily difficult questions for some time now. This incident has pushed these to the top of the local and national agendas and we must collectively redouble our efforts to find some answers.

‘In the immediate future though, my office will be working to help the people of Plymouth, and particularly Keyham, recover as best as they can.”

On Monday, a one-minute silence was held to remember the five victims. Lord Mayor of Plymouth Terri Beer, who spoke outside the Guildhall before the silence, said: “I know that many people across the country and the world will also be taking a moment to reflect on the dreadful loss that has been suffered in our community.

‘I know Plymouth is a place where people stand together during dark times. I hope and believe that we will get through the difficult times that lie ahead as we try to come to terms with the dreadful loss by continuing to support each other.”

The Prime Minister was among those to pay their respects elsewhere in the country.

In Liverpool, traffic was held in the Mersey Tunnels, while courts and the Old Bailey in London rose to observe the silence.

Author: Laura White

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